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Church Leaders Condemn Violence Against Copts in Egypt

In response to the recent attack and violence against Coptic Orthodox Christians in Nag Hammadi in which six Coptic Christians were martyred, church leaders from around the world have expressed their solidarity with the Coptic Orthodox Church in various ways.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI of the Roman Catholic Church spoke out against the violence in his weekly blessing on Sunday, saying, "Violence against Christians … has caused indignation among many people, particularly because it has taken place on the most sacred days of the Christian tradition." The Pope expressed a desire for increased accountability from the government and religious leaders. "It is necessary that both political and religious authorities do not fail to live up to their responsibilities," the pope said. "We cannot have violence in the name of God."

Meanwhile, the chief ecumenical officer of the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, wrote a letter to His Holiness Pope Shenouda III expressing his sadness and closeness to the Coptic community after the recent tragic assault in Nag Hammadi. "With sadness I have heard the tragic news of the death and injury of several Coptic Christians after a Christmas midnight Mass in Nag Hammadi," the cardinal wrote. "Please know that I am united in prayer with Your Holiness and with the Coptic Christian Community at this time."

His Grace Bishop Serapion received a kind letter from Michael Kinnamon, the General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, expressing his solidarity and prayerful wishes on behalf of the National Council of the Churches:

On behalf of your brothers and sisters in the National Council of Churches, I want to assure you of our prayers following the death of Coptic Orthodox Christians this week in Egypt. May God receive them into glory, and may God grant peace to our violent and fragmented world.

Finally, the Right Reverend Alexei Smith, Ecumenical Officer of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, sent a kind message expressing the sincere sorrow of the Catholic community in Los Angeles over the recent tragic events in Nag Hammadi.

We express our sincere gratitude to these church leaders and all those who have stood with the Coptic Orthodox Church community during this difficult time in which Christians must stand up together and work for peace and justice.

Posted by Fr. Moses Samaan

January 11, 2010